The Graduate Program in Physics was created in 1969 with headquarters at the School of Engineering of São Carlos (EESC) of the University of São Paulo on the campus located in the city of São Carlos, interior of the state of São Paulo. In 1971, the Institute of Physics and Chemistry of São Carlos (IFQSC) was created as a break-up of the EESC and took this Graduate Program in Physics with it.
In 1975, the Program was divided into two areas: Applied Physics and Basic Physics. The Basic Physics area hosted research projects related to fundamental and inherent themes of Physics, while the Applied Physics area received inter and multidisciplinary projects.
In 1994, the IFQSC was divided into the Institute of Physics of São Carlos (IFSC) and the Institute of Chemistry of São Carlos (IQSC). The Graduate Program in Physics was then based at the IFSC. That same year, the emphasis on Computational Physics was created within the area of Applied Physics.
Between 1994 and 1999, the IFSC underwent a rapid growth that increased its number of professors and included new lines of research. Many researchers hired during this period were dedicated to research in inter and multidisciplinary areas such as protein crystallography, structural biology, molecular biophysics, nanotechnology applied to biomolecules, biofuels and physics applied to the solution of health problems. As a reflection of this expansion, the Program created in 1999 the emphasis on Biomolecular Physics within the area of Applied Physics.
In 2019, we adapted the areas of the Program following the current USP legislation. We divided the program into three areas: Theoretical and Experimental Physics, Biomolecular Physics and Computational Physics. The new division avoids unnecessary subdivisions in emphasis and reflects the consolidation of the areas of Biomolecular and Computational Physics.
Recently, the Program not only maintained the level of quality present since its foundation, but also increased its insertion in research activities that generate products and processes directly applied to the improvement of the living conditions of our society. The participation of students in the generation of patents is one of the examples of this insertion that will be discussed below. The Program has consolidated itself as the second largest program in physics in Brazil in absolute numbers of mentors and students and in number of defenses of theses and dissertations achieving clear leadership in various aspects of the Brazilian research and graduate scenario.
The evolution of the number of students and defenses shows a marked growth in research and training of qualified personnel resulting from the Program. On December 31, 2020 we reached 809 theses and 1007 dissertations defended in the Program. We believe that these data and others discussed below are compatible with the maximum grade granted by CAPES to this Program since the beginning of the evaluations: from 1975 to 1995 it had concept A and since 1995 it has a seven grade.